Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    March 15, 2011 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT

11:00 pm
let. me. on charge in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture a nuclear disaster looms over japan as toxic radiation continues to leak into towns and night tonight's panel discussion will look at how the radioactive poisons could affect us even here in the united states plus the nation's highest court deals with cases but there's been a high interest in certain rulings in recent change in how big business is treated by the court explain the sudden shift and you do the crime do the time then you
11:01 pm
can't vote when you florida rule geared toward convicted felons could be the g.o.p.'s strategy for winning in two thousand and twelve. you need to know this officials in japan are desperately working to prevent multiple disaster scenarios at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant the city of sendai a city that was wiped off the map as a result of friday's nine point zero earthquake and tsunami the new york times is reporting that there have been setbacks today in trying to cool the reactors and the situation is to use the time says phrase vereen toward catastrophe the international nuclear radiological event scale measures the severity of nuclear incidents all over the world situation japan is worse than what happened at three
11:02 pm
mile island back in ninety's in seventy nine scale goes from one to seven one being a minor incidents i would be unsure ennoble today's situation japan is a six so far all six reactors of the planet are in danger of meltdown reactors one two and three have experienced hydrogen explosions meanwhile. pools filled with nuclear waste that sit on top of reactors four five and six are all running dangerously low on water and at risk of igniting causing that radioactive waste to spew into the atmosphere pretty much like the ultimate dirty bomb and in just the last four hours reactor four has in fact caught fire back in one thousand nine hundred seven the study was done by brookhaven national laboratory and worst case scenario if one if one cooling poor fail like what is on the verge of happening at one of the three reactors in japan or the earth we may think of reactor number four the study found that just losing water from the waste storage pool. could kill nearly one hundred forty thousand people within five miles of
11:03 pm
a pool and render an area of the world thousand miles of that pool on inhabitable and that's just at the stored for waste caught fire not even the worst case of in the case of a core meltdown explosion so are we witnessing a catastrophic event on the other side of the globe and what lessons should we as americans be learning joining me now is congressman rush holt jersey also happens to be a physicist congressman great to have you with you with your town and nice to meet you in person you've been to my radio show many times over the years it's it is very good to be with you thank you. what is in your experience and opinion the impact that this is having on the mood in congress with regard to the debates over various forms of energy and whether or not as the tea party likes to say we have too much regulation. i don't know yet it's still unfolding we don't even back in session one day since this happened but i assume that we're going to swing as
11:04 pm
we have before you know for a while everybody says oh we got to drill drill drill drill everywhere that's the answer to our problems and then people say oh no we've got climate change ok nuclear power that's the answer to our problems. you know we have not had for decades a good hard look at our total energy picture how we're going to get out of this out of this energy predicament and frankly congress doesn't like to do hard thinking you know it's always looking for a quick and easy solution there isn't a quick and easy solution if we're going to talk about nuclear power we mustn't forget that the way we use coal results in ten thousand early deaths a year deaths people dying in the united states just call it from you know use the coal so you know that's the tradeoff with nuclear power. yeah absolutely and in fact wasn't jimmy carter's famous one nine hundred seventy eight or nine speech
11:05 pm
eighty seven eighty nine whatever i mean except yours but you know the muscle a seventy eight seventy nine yes no when he said when he said we will never import more oil than we did two years previous and by the year two thousand level solar bank producing twenty percent of the nation's electricity and then ronald reagan got elected took those solar panels off the roof of the white house and that was the last time we had an energy policy because we have this right and we've had and we had enough reminders of our perilous situation whether it's uprisings in libya or explosions in the gulf of mexico or now meltdown. in japan it's it's clear that we can't keep going the way we're going and yet we keep going the way we're going and so how congress will respond is anybody's guess but we've got to come up with an energy policy that is there is hard nosed that coherent arguments of coherent and comprehensive and clearly if you look at the cost to
11:06 pm
lives and society and using coal and the cost. now to lives and society and using nuclear power sure window to look all whole lot more attractive and geothermal waves are more than any number everything else that's right. in fact the germans have done some very innovative stuff with the solar panels for the whole banking but i'm sure you're familiar with it anyway nuclear power plants don't just produce nuclear power they also produce plutonium and other concentrates along with the. you know the cesium and the the less potent things that come out of uranium some there's a certain amount of fusion in there of could it's creating more potent things it can be made into nuclear bombs isn't that a concern that we should be addressing worldwide churches and the fuel preparation process for a nuclear power plant is indistinguishable from the fuel preparation process for you know where your weapon you sent stuff and the reprocessing of plutonium gives
11:07 pm
you plutonium which could be used for a weapon you know the power people say oh no we deal in electricity we're not involved in weapons there's no connection well if there's no connection then we ought to feel comfortable about iran right now right. now the third world who could decide if they want to have a nuclear power plant so clearly there's a lake we've got to admit that there's a link. and and face up to it that is to my way of thinking the biggest issue bigger than waste disposal and bigger even then incidents that plants like we're seeing in in japan the number of people who would be killed the disruption to civil society from nuclear weapons is even greater last notice just a quickie what's more difficult dealing with republicans in congress who are beating watson on jeopardy. you're the only member of congress and i think the famous i.b.m. computer i'll put it this way i've had
11:08 pm
a lot of fun with the whole watson episode. thank you so much for a great a lot of very nice station. while germany and switzerland are now reconsidering the use of nuclear power in their nations president obama the republicans are still committed to nuclear power here in the states in fact president obama recently asked congress to approve a four billion dollar loan to build two nuclear plants on the gulf coast of texas and of course after katrina the amber hazards of building on the gulf coast. probably shouldn't need to be mentioned so what's going on here shouldn't we be joining germany and switzerland reconsidering nuclear power greg palast as an independent investigative journalist and author of the book armed madhouse he joins me now from new york greg welcome. to be with you again tom great to have you back with us four billion dollars for two new nukes in texas yes and of course what makes it really thrilling is that the builder one of the builders will be tokyo electric power the guys whose buildings are glowing sky high right now
11:09 pm
why been invited. the high was there why very good japanese company to the united states and i thought we were you know we can do nation we build things here right not anymore and not at all in fact one of the reasons was that the main operator houston power has been cited for criminal coverups of their problems building the first two nuclear plants in south texas they were fined a billion dollars for incompetence and building and they went bankrupt so because they're bankrupt incompetent have a criminal record they said well if you give us the four billion dollars will bring in wonderful tokyo electric to show our guys how to build the plants safely and how to operate them safely i can't make this up tom and in addition they're bringing into sheba to make the reactor vessel mostly in japan and when you're looking at those vessels blowing up now one of the three is from the shiva that's that's
11:10 pm
amazing what is s q and why should we care. we should care a lot s.q. is the technical term for seismic qualification that means that a plant is earthquake proof he's not allowed to build a nuclear plant in the united states or anywhere in the world which adopts u.s. standards inclusion panel unless they have an s q certification now these plants that are blowing up now supposedly had an s q that means an earthquake proof certificate saying that they could handle these earthquakes you have to understand we've had eight zero plus earthquakes several of them in right near by the cure all islands this is not some type of surprise event the other idea that they somehow couldn't with handle tsunami that they didn't think that an earthquake could go with the tsunami if you remember your eighth grade science every single earthquake in the pacific rim offshore everyone no exception produces some tsunami that's that's the simple geology of it these plants are supposed to be certified put when
11:11 pm
i was an investigator for the government investigating s.q. certification at the shoreham nuclear plant we found out that these certifications are very often think in fact the company that faked it the company that we caught faking it and we had a jury agree that they were caught faking it is a company which is now a unit of short construction which will be constructing a south texas nuclear plant we tokyo electric quite a combination yeah that was my next story my next question was going to be who is stone and webster and and shaw and stone webster was the company right that faked it and they got busted shaw and now they are going to join with the japanese company to build the power but it is why and you know this is making my head explode why on earth greg palast would president obama push for over fifty billion
11:12 pm
dollars for these kind of nuclear power plants over the next few years and not at least look at even you know the eccentric right wing billionaire t. boone pickens plan to put all those windmills across the midwest. well that's real simple lobbying power you have to remember that david axelrod is cheap political operative work for exelon which is of course a major nuclear operator they've got the big money wind power even t. boone pickens does not have anything close to the lobby power of the nuclear industry and that's what's behind this and those forget that the south texas plant is backed by j.p. morgan and citibank we're talking about four billion guarantees it's not to the actual nuclear plant operators it's to j.p. morgan citibank we're putting up the money so we're guaranteeing and basically have another bank bailout in advance that we're looking at so what instead of way my old world we're bailing we're guaranteeing to the banks that if they finance the construction of these plants and something goes south short term or long term that
11:13 pm
and then the company can't pay back the banks and this four billion in this two cases but he's looking for a total of over fifty billion that basically were just backstop into banks not the nuclear power plant companies that's right instead of instead of straddles and credit default swaps they've decided to go into into the radiation business and once again we're guaranteeing it or guaranteeing it in advance in fact tokyo electric said we will come to the u.s. unless we get these guarantees for our bankers the answer is well. maybe then you don't get the guarantees it is quite extraordinary it's been very much hidden from the public in fact the first attempt to put these guarantees into law was included in the emergency funding bill for afghanistan that's how they pulled this stuff off as they know it you know because no one no one in their right mind would vote for this straight up no congressman has the guts to vote for a guarantee like this street says this is naomi klein's disaster capitalism on
11:14 pm
steroids greg palast thanks so much for the great investigative work you're doing a great writing you're doing for being on our program today. thanks once the reactors currently in danger in japan are known as mark one reactors they were designed by general electric a.b.c. is reporting that thirty five years ago three g. engineers resigned because they feared that the mark one design was flawed and then warned that should a cooling system failure take place by the way exactly what is happening in japan right now the reactors would be unable to handle the immense pressure sadly those engineers were running is starting to ring true. and. it's time for our daily poll your chance to tell us what you think here's today's question will the us remain committed to nuclear power after this partial meltdown in japan your options are
11:15 pm
a yes the nuclear lobbyists and the political lapdogs are already at work or b. no nuclear power will never ever be safe and america will get this now so far a whopping seventy eight percent of you think the lobbyists and lap dogs have the upper hand he's still a ton cast your vote if you're an optimist with a grounded tom hartman back on those no you think the poll will be open until tomorrow morning. coming up for good you can see increasing energy troubles threaten their neighbors across the ocean discuss what this means for the american west coast. flimsy low in good taste and the preaching that these women have nothing people are suggesting she's done for you she says she's a stuck. alan
11:16 pm
. there are confirmed reports that a the radiation is leaking from the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant and elevated levels of radiation have been measured in tokyo really two hundred kilometers away from sendai when we as we reported yesterday elevated levels of radiation were also
11:17 pm
detected aboard the u.s.s. ronald reagan which was stationed nearby at the day higher levels of radiation were detected it to u.s. military bases in that region japanese government has instructed people living within nineteen miles of the mill functioning plant to stay inside their homes and close the windows so just how deadly is radiation poisoning if the worst case scenario does occur what can we expect on the west coast of the united states here to speak to this issue when they're going through international specialist invalid or nuclear and city folk or specialist radiation also beyond nuclear or. silly welcome to the program. let me start with cindy with a question for you how does radiation harm people well radiation can harm people by hitting their cells and the cells in our body which makes it who we are. can be dividing or going through various prophets and during some of the process is
11:18 pm
there more. able to be harmed by radiation entering other processes but in general it will take the cells of the body and perhaps cause them to reproduce themselves incorrectly and that can recall no he says the d.n.a. yes and that can result d.n.a. and that can result in diseases such as cancers ok linda nuclear way. he sed is a huge part of the story i don't think until just maybe the last six or eight hours the york times for started reporting that this morning there's been current but a mention of it on the on the mainstream networks but nobody seems to want to mention this word you know that there's there's there's hundreds of tons of nuclear waste sitting on top of each one of these reactors and that that's actually the biggest part of the problem and that's what they're trying to cool with seawater but that's what they're hysterical about that's what's on fire or they will be on fire with reactor number four right now. can you address that whole waste issue
11:19 pm
and also your thoughts on why. the media in the united states doesn't like to even use that word well i think first of all it's probably it's such a technical issue that i think the media in the united states is really struggling with this and in all its i don't understand why would they i mean i would have understood if i wasn't immersed in this every day and so to suddenly be confronted with this situation in japan and not be a physicist or even just somebody who's looked at this real long time it's very confusing to think about the boiling water mark one reactors which you alluded to the beginning are just what we're looking at interesting. and we have twenty three of them in the united states is that the fuel pool with outside of the containment pretty much on the roof of the reactor and you saw those two explosions and what was left was sort of a rebar and then you saw the rest of the building right below that where the solid building starts that's where the fuel pool is on the upper level of the building the ones that have been blown up the fuel pool is probably exposed to the sky right
11:20 pm
now so it's in the open and they've got to keep those cool because if those heat out you'll have a fire just like you've had a number for which we certainly believe has to be the fuel pool it had to fire is there now i believe without a second fire and in fact the concern is that both bulk of the radioactivity that's being released right now is actually coming from that fuel fire but it's you know waste is the. it was healed of the nuclear industry and my personal conspiracy theory is that nobody wants to talk about it for that reason. are there but back back to back to simply what impact will the radiation has been released so far egypt and. the united states both in terms of wind currents airborne and in terms of water currents and in terms of the food chain we import eighty percent of our seafood in the united states and much of what we hear from southeast asia right well there are
11:21 pm
a couple of things to consider is the most immediate impact which can be of course felt by the people of japan and children and women are more susceptible to radiation exposure. as far as what's going on with the west coast we will have to see alaska and british columbia and all but all down the united states we're going to have to sort of wait and see where the radiation decides to deposit itself and how the air currents are going to carry it i was looking at maps today of the currents there are very complex and the relation distribution understanding it is going to be very complex we have right now people on the west coast who are set up to monitor to see what kind of radiation deposition we get here from the japanese reactor accidents simply because we know that the e.p.a. is probably monitoring we also know that the n.r.c. is probably going to be monitoring the n.r.c. of nuclear regulatory commission e.p.a. as environmental protection agency but the history of the with engines these has
11:22 pm
not has been to downplay the effects of radiation absolutely affects the radiation and the amount of radiation that we are susceptible to that is bio available to us and so as a result we are sort of going to have to wait and see what i would recommend people do first is to make sure that potassium iodide tablets or something. fibroid lock up so that radioactive iodine will not be absorbed by the ira it's especially important for children if the thing that helped lower the rate of fiber of cancer in after the term noble explosion in poland it was given in poland even three days after he knew about the radiation at least not in the former so it follows that i read somewhere but that's not the only danger you got cesium easing up was bitter acid we got straczynski to muster also tells him calcium which of strontium ninety will go to your arm so you know in the heart is one of the most
11:23 pm
important muscles in the body and cesium will go there and can cause heart problems as we've seen in the movie chernobyl heart the documentary cancer yes. forget yes is there such a thing as a safe nuclear reactor design. because no matter how well you design them this is the factor of human error and you can't design against human error it's what happened at three mile island that's what happened at chernobyl it's probably not happening because they had unimaginable natural disasters which you also probably can't design against you know the whole you know when you point zero earthquake you can't design against that what you can you could argue that putting the diesel plants at a low level were a tidal wave or a tsunami would take them out it was human error to begin with and i think about it the design phase well there's no no i mean the diesel to back up generators are known to be unreliable to begin with should they could work very well or fail i hope we actually fuel gas great last told me. his information was that they failed
11:24 pm
before the right three or three times and then for some pressure broke and the. the nuclear industry that it's interesting how this is splitting hairs that basically two stories being told to americans right now one story is. you know this is a terrible thing that illustrates a dangerous of messing with the at. and we shouldn't go in there in the first place it's time for us to pull back and maybe we should be looking at solar and wind power and geothermal always other alternatives or maybe even coal you know. but you know as soon as russell point put out ten thousand you would drive that not to mention global warming and on the other hand there's a bunch of people i mean a bunch of these right wing think tanks that are running around going see this proves our point this reactor is forty years old we shouldn't be using forty year old technology we should be using the new designs that are really safe let's switch gears a little bit because yes they were saying it's no it's fine there's no problem everything's fine if you go exaggerating you're overreacting and so now they're having it every
11:25 pm
day shift gears a little bit i mean they're in a difficult position to defend you can have power right now rightly i mean usually we feel that we're in the hot seat trying to say look it's unsafe but now unfortunately these horrible pictures from japan are proving a point that's been known for a long time with this design in one nine hundred seventy two. you mentioned the whistleblower designers in one thousand nine hundred eighty two the atomic energy commission said these reactors are too dangerous we are not going to build any more of them now they should have stopped the men in one thousand nine hundred five harold denton and then head of n.r.c. safety said to a conference industry conference there's a ninety percent chance of containment failure of this design reactor in the event of an accident that's in nine hundred eighty five because almost forty years to shut these things down why the heck are they still run we have one and requires they realize the same there's here's another question the nuclear industry in the us i understand actually since seventy something seventy three seventy nine has been buying into an insurance pool if that's the case why is price anderson still
11:26 pm
around percy anderson was the law that was passed bed with fifty's or sixty's to make nuclear power possible because nobody would insure it and to what extent if price here or someone away if we did tax payers stop backstopping industry with this massive subsidy if there was a way to what extent would clear power still exist either of you want to take a shot at. no well it's kind of hard to predict but they can't survive without subsidies now it can't happen new generation without subsidy math of subsidies that they're asking for from congress so if you took away insurance policy there's no private insurer that is going to insure the american public against any sort of nuclear accident it's written into our insurance policy that's why the price anderson is there because you can't get private insurance if you live near and there's no there's no guarantee that the price anderson is either going to be activated after an accident was not after tonight and there is no there's no help
11:27 pm
for the american public it's my understanding the insurance that the industry itself just created basically only against financial disasters and there was just a backstop them with the banks thank you linda sunny thank you both so much for being with us this so much appreciate it i will have more on the dire situation in japan and what it means for the united states internet still take. it's the good the bad of the very very excruciating we are the way first the good senator kirsten gillibrand as for job or as more and more americans disapprove of the afghanistan war jill brown is holding the white house's feet to the fire over their plans to withdraw troops in twenty fourteen using the promise that america cannot afford and most war children are introduced legislation to require the white
11:28 pm
house present a clear strategy for withdrawal to congress by july thirty first the new a.b.c. washington post poll showing a record high sixty four percent of americans disapproving of the war senator joe lieberman is listening to the american people that the bad glenn beck is paranoid delusional may have read. critical mass as of yesterday that hinted that the japanese earthquake might be a sign from god but all that's not we're doing isn't working by stuff he wasn't talking about nuclear power he went on to argue that there may be a connection between the earthquake and support for the muslim brotherhood really i'm not making this stuff up and this was his profound advice to his. muscle up buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride make sure you keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times glenn since you talk to god no i'm really surprised you didn't get his last message
11:29 pm
go take care of prozac. maybe you should have your ears checked lawyer and a very very ugly kansas republican state representative virgil pac what's his solution to illegal immigration shooting people like animals and one of the record with that little gem in a recent committee here. to take you through the use of greedy works we. are going to are we going to greet you. later in fact was asked to apologize refused saying i was just speaking wanted to se kim this person and only were pecks words shocking and hateful and also managed to embarrass everybody in southeast kansas and that's very clear. coming up democrats fight to win back union rights for workers in wisconsin will they be able to gather enough john hancock to overthrow the g.o.p. majority.
left
right